Currently reading: Lotus F1 faces name legal battle
Lotus F1 team's right to use 'Team Lotus' challenged by Proton

The Lotus F1 team is facing legal action over its attempt to use the Team Lotus name from next year.

Proton, which owns Lotus road cars, has challenged Lotus Racing team boss Tony Fernandes’s right to use the name.

Read about Lotus Racing buying the rights to the ‘Team Lotus’ name

Nadzmi Salleh, Proton chairman, said: “Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 season.

“We will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team.”

Read about Lotus Motorsport’s plans next year

He added: “We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it.”

A press release from Proton stated: “Proton will support Group Lotus in taking all necessary steps to protect its rights in the ‘Lotus’ name, including resisting any attempts by Mr. Fernandes or his companies, or any other unauthorised person, to use the ‘Lotus’ name in the 2011 Formula 1 season.”

Read more about the Lotus Evora racing car

Read about Lotus's £650k T125

Lotus Racing announced at the Singapore Grand Prix that it had purchased the Team Lotus name from businessman David Hunt – the brother of Formula 1 champion James Hunt.

Hunt had acquired the rights after the original Lotus F1 team – named Team Lotus – collapsed in 1994.

Lotus re-entered F1 this year under Malaysian ownership and used the Lotus name under license from Lotus Group.

Andrew Papworth

See all the latest Lotus reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
feckin maso 29 September 2010

Re: Lotus F1 faces name legal battle

Whatever happens, the Lotus f1 team is going to lose out here, if they win the right to the name then they lose one of their biggest backers, if they lose the name then they lose thestatus they had hoped to build on. The ridiculous thing is that Proton?Lotus will also lose out, the new Exos program only makes sense with a F1 connection and their drive upmarket can only be sustained by F1 imagebuilding. they really should have left this a week until after the paris show, the relaunch of Lotus there with its announcements of future models and new motorsports ventures is going to be competing for attention with this story about them shooting themselves in the foot. Only makes sense if theyre going to reenter f1 themselves

TheWizardWeb 29 September 2010

Re: Lotus F1 faces name legal battle

Here's a great article about the history of Team Lotus

TheWizardWeb 29 September 2010

Re: Lotus F1 faces name legal battle

feckin maso wrote:
They had a longer deal, but as with Cosworth they ended the contract, sounds like a money saving measure more than anything else and its backfiring bigstyle

They cancelled the Cosworth deal so they could get Renault engines and the cost of the Team Lotus name is costing more than they paid to lease "Lotus Racing". So it's not cost saving at all.

I like Tony Fernandes. He's a tough businessman, yes, but also he has passion for the sport and it's history. The new ex-Ferrari, Porsche and Merc guys at Group Lotus seem to be more interested in cynically marketing the Lotus name, in the same style that Ferrari have. As Dani Bahar is the ex-Ferrari Marketing man, this is no surprise but he seems to have brought the Ferrari arrogance with him too.

What I'm noticing is that the Group Lotus plan is very similar to the one the Phoenix Group had for MG Rover. Get into as many forms of motorsport as quickjly as possible, play up the heritage (which Lotus Cars has for cars, but not for Motorsport, that's Team Lotus and was separated from the car & engineering divisions a few decades ago) and take the road cars upmarket.

So bearing in mind Lotus cars doesn't make money and Proton need money, then maybe they're fattening the goose ready for sale? That's the plan Phoenix had for Rover and we all know how that ended up...